I was just catching up on a couple of VMworld sessions. One session that stood out to me was most definitely once again the session by Chris Wolf and Daniel Beveridge. I am not going to write up a full coverage of it, as it is mostly very similar to the session they did in the US which I posted about here.
However, what is interesting in the European edition is that Regis Duchesne comes up on stage after about 38 minutes in and he starts discussing and demoing ESXi on ARM, but more impressively ESXi on top of a Raspberry Pi. Note that these machines have very limited memory (1GB) and little CPU (64-bit SoC @ 1.4GHz) resources, and are low powered! Gotta love an intro as well that includes “been at VMware for about 20 years”.
Very interesting to see that Regis and the team managed to get ESXi booting on an RPI 3b, but also that it only uses about 500MB of the memory, which would leave room to boot one VM as Regis points out if you are lucky. One example of a use case is to use this machine as a physical vSAN Witness host for 2 host configurations. This was the immediate use case I had in mind as well for this! (Although preferably a configuration with a bit more CPU power and memory would be preferred!)
Regis also mentions the option to run 1 VM on an RPi3, but you could, of course, have multiple RPi’s running and connect them using a 1GbE switch so the VMs can communicate with each other, you could even create a cluster and move VMs between RPi’s when you are doing maintenance at the edge. Or even more VMs could potentially run on an RPi and you could use it as an IoT gateway. As Regis points out, what is great about ESXi is that it already provides isolation and QoS for VMs, which ensures that all apps running on an IoT gateway would get their fair share of resources. (Eliminate the noisy neighbor problems) Note that this is a project and very much at an alpha stage, nowhere close to being available for customers or partners, but as Regis points out… if you are a customer or partner doing things at the edge and interesting in this please let us know. The team is looking for design partners to better understand the different use case, to ensure they build something which can be useful for customers! (You can leave a comment here, let us know what you are looking to do with it and I will connect you with the right folks.)